I’m a writer, mainly about art and jazz. I am currently the art critic for The Spectator magazine, and also contribute to many other publications. I have recently finished A History of Pictures: from Cave to Computer Screen, co-authored with David Hockney. My previous book was Rendez-vous with Art, co-authored with Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My other books all scrutinize the working process of great painters: nine weeks in the life of Vincent van Gogh, seven years of John Constable’s romance with his wife-to-be, around 250 hours which I spent sitting for a portrait by Lucian Freud, a series of dialogues exploring painting, landscape, space, time and perception with David Hockney, and a biography of Michelangelo Buonarrotti.
New Book! The Pursuit of Art
The Pursuit of Art grew out of a series of broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, based on my experiences in the course of a career thinking and writing about art.
I have travelled all over the world both to see works of art and to meet artists, and my journeys, often to fairly inaccessible places, involve frustrations and complications as well as serendipitous encounters, conversations and outcomes.